🎵 And you realize you haven't cried 🎵
Yesterday marked an entire month after my dad's surgery and I'm already back in Edinburgh trying to catch up with all the behind the scenes work Meenal has handled in my absence. And as I'm here, also trying to stay up to date with my dad's recovery, I'm thinking about this whole episode, the fright we had, and what it all meant to us as a family.
This sudden health crisis within the family took me back to eighteen years ago when we experienced a similar shock upon discovering my dad's new status as a second stage cancer patient. At the time of the discovery, we were living in a flat in Delhi that was notorious for its history of having housed sick people. Rumour had it that almost everyone who moved into that flat got diagnosed with some form of serious illness or the other and as you can imagine, rumours of that kind were typically unwelcome among families who had just moved in. Families like ours. So it was not at all surprising when, as soon as my dad got diagnosed, my mother quickly pronounced that this had everything to do with the "goddamn house!"
Upon hearing this though, a neighbor who was himself someone who suffered from a chronic condition pointed out that there was another way of looking at it. That it was by pure chance that my dad had gotten diagnosed in the first place and that had it not been for a number of factors falling into place at exactly the right time, we wouldn't even have discovered his illness until it was all too late. So maybe, just maybe, we could consider ourselves lucky for having found out soon enough? And maybe this flat was, in fact, a lucky home where we could promptly start his treatment?
I find it important to point out here that the person who brought so much positivity into our home with that one question was someone who could have easily been one to bare his teeth at everyone around him for merely existing and breathing in his direction. He was someone who struggled with day-to-day activities owing to his condition that made even getting out of bed in the morning a tiresome chore. But despite everything, he not only got up, got dressed, and got shit done, but he also spared enough time in his day to lend support to those who were new to suffering.
Speaking of cursed homes and superstitions, another belief where I come from is that one should be wary of celebrating a sixtieth birthday. For some reason, just that one milestone is considered a bit...spooky. In 2013, when we celebrated my uncle's sixtieth as a family, I remember my cousin mentioning to me that she couldn't get the spookiness of it out of her mind. I never believed in the superstition myself so I simply shrugged my shoulders at her wariness.
Four years later, I happily got on a flight home to celebrate my own dad's sixtieth with not even a thought about that superstition crossing my mind.
But a mere sixty days after his big milestone, as I stood in a well-lit yet depressing corridor, letting go of his hand as he was wheeled away into a scary surgery, I must confess that the thought of this superstition finally did cross my mind. I almost felt as though I had attracted evil to him by getting him to cut a bloody birthday cake.
Thankfully, before beginning to voluntarily descend into the depths of my own personal hell that occasionally beckons from a little corner of my brain, I got reminded of our wonderful neighbour back in Delhi. I remembered the question he asked us and in turn, I asked myself this question:
What if you're just extremely lucky to have found out before things got out of hand?
And it took less than a millisecond for a resounding YES to reverberate across my entire being.
I realised that this surgery was never a bad thing. It was only something that ensured that he'd stick around to bore us and his future grandkids with his unforgivable dad jokes.
And that has been my biggest takeaway from it all. There are a hundred different ways of looking at something that scares us but it's up to us to choose to see with clarity.
So here's to a glass half full!
(Get it? LOLOLOL)